Saturday, summer 2009.
The labor wasn’t as hard as my first one. Although I still felt an excruciating pain, I didn’t have to bear it for many hours: this time everything happened very quick. The contractions started just before the dinner, but since I was eager to hear an explanation from Sam, I chose to ignore them. They weren’t as bad as before; this time they started on my belly button and even though I could be well aware of my internal organs’ position, I didn’t experiment any back pain. By the time we we were eating, I felt a humid fluid going down my legs: I didn’t have to check if I had pee myself – after the twins, I still remembered what that fluid meant.
Leighton disguised his nervousness very well this time. As men usually do when they see women in that situation, he did have a tense expression and a panic tic: he kept running his fingers through his hair all the way to the hospital. But he was visible far better than he was during my first labor. Just before we got into the car, Sam ran towards me. He had the bag with the baby and maternity stuff I prepared in his hand. He kindly hand it to me and wished me a good labor. I muss confess I was touched.
Not more than one hour later, I was holding Renzo in my arms. Renzo. My new bouncing baby boy. This time I’ve done my homework and read a pregnancy book called “Totally preggers: an expectant mother’s tale”. I don’t consider it very enlightening since it doesn’t contain one line about the pain involved in the laboring process, but it has quite a chapter about babies names. That’s how I came to Renzo: a meaningful name in both latin and japanese. In latin, it’s the short form of Laurentius or Lorenzo and it stands for “the one from Laurentum”, a Roman Empire city known by its laurel trees. I didn’t know that before the book, but the leafs of the laurel trees were used by ancient Rome scholars and symbolized both peace and clemency. In japanese, it means “the third son”. It couldn’t be more perfect. Or so we thought.
Leighton was impressed about my effort to bring some of his ancestral background to our daily life. He, himself, isn’t so much connected to his ancestors culture, preferring pancakes above all sushis. It’s understandable since he left Kobe after a traumatic divorce and when he was still a toddler. But I guess this oriental background might add some deeper understanding and belonging feeling to my children. I can certainly use that to raise them to be better people.
The problem, again, was Sam. When we got home with Renzo, he received us with a carefully prepared surprised: two oil portraits – one of Leighton and one of me – on with he had been working secretly for the past couple weeks were then hanging on our living room wall. Of course both his father and I were touched, but thinking again I came to believe that it was his way to say that he’s part of the family, like I or not.
The fact is, he ended having to take his own trojan horse-like gift – and I wasn’t even aware that it would turn to be like that! When he asked what was the name of the new baby boy, Leighton answered, unworried. There were no need for further explanations about meanings: Sam, who seemed to be studying and rescuing his ancestors history and japanese culture, was offended by the choice. Renzo was, in fact, the 4th son… and naming him just considering the kids Leighton had with me was taken as an open expression of how there wasn’t space in our life for him.
Well, it wasn’t like that for Leighton, of course, who tried to dismiss his about moving out. But it was it. Hurt, Sam packed, kissed the girls goodbye and run out of the door. Leighton tried to follow his older son, but I managed to stop him. He was angry with me the whole night and even slept on the sofa at the living room, but by morning he came to his sense. It would be worse being on bad terms with me AND Sam. His romantic heart wouldn’t bear it. So he forgave me with an amorously – yet sad – hug and left for trying to find Sam.
At night, after work and while we shared a grilled cheese sandwich, Leighton confessed he had found his older son at the theater and that they had had a very unpleasant conversation. Leighton ended handing a check with half of our economies to Sam so the young men could buy a house somewhere and follow with his life. The money was entitled to Sam, anyways, since part of it had came from the sale of his grandma’s house. Leighton expected with such a gesture more than make amends: he wished Sam would reconsider, maybe, moving back in or, at least, buying a house that neighbored us. But Sam destroyed all hope by saying that both were now grown-up and independent men. And that the family connection was, definitely, broke.
It devastated Leighton; remembering the scene with Sam, he yelled at me, he yelled at the twins. I know we’ll have to give him some time. But I’m convinced he will cope with this loss: he still has three kids following him around, after all! I know I might sound a bit bitter and wood-hearted, but you see, diary, I don’t feel any remorse. I didn’t plan it. It was a lucky coincidence. When I first picked Renzo, it didn’t cross my mind Sam would be so offended. It was the only name I knew that was used in both japanese and latin; I didn’t care much about the japanese meaning. I know, now, it was a master move. But this chess game, I was not playing.
For now, I must confess I pray for the distance between Leighton and Sam grows bigger… it’s better for my kids: no past will ever haunt them again.